Wymondham toy firm set to expand

Specialist children's games and jigsaw puzzle manufacturer Orchard Toys has announced plans to increase its factory space by 50pc.

The Wymondham-based firm says it has experienced 'two exceptional years of trading', with sales growing 10pc in each of those years.

Managing director Simon Newbery also says the firm is looking at producing its toys in different languages to increase its export market.

The firm moved to Norfolk from Nottingham into a purpose-built factory and office unit five years ago.

Mr Newbery said they already need more space.

'It will give us more breathing space,' he said. 'We had this place built for us five years ago and didn't anticipate have to expand so soon. It is a measure of how successful we have been.

'We are surprised in so far as, when you look back to how difficult things have been, we have grown through that period, having had a couple of years of consolidation before then.'

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He said the underlying educational aspect of the firm's products as well as a price range of �7-11 meant while parents may be put off toys in the �40-50 price range they still bought Orchard Toys' products.

The new space will give the firm more room for storage so that it can build up stock levels during the summer in readiness for the rush before Christmas. 'This expansion will take the pressure off staff at key times of the year and allow us to plan ahead more efficiently, ensuring that we have stock available 100pc of the time,' said Mr Newbery.

It is hoped work will start towards the end of this year.

The firm designs its toys at the Wymondham base, but subcontracts the manufacturing of the parts of its toys to UK firms.

These are then assembled at its Wymondham headquarters, which employs 40 to 50 people in the run up to Christmas.

It launches at least three new products three times per year and exports about 20pc of its production, mostly to English speaking countries including Australia.